Indiana-based Cook Medical faces over 10,000 injury claims over its medical product designed to prevent blood clots called inferior vena cava (IVC) filters. IVC filter litigation against Cook Medical has been ongoing since October 2014, making it one of the largest and longest legal battles in Indiana history, according to the Indiana Business Journal (IBJ). 

Cook Medical IVC filter litigation is the sixth-largest of 185 ongoing multidistrict litigations in the U.S. The company, IBJ says, is vigorously defending the IVC filter lawsuits and won several cases in the early stages of the litigation. 

No plaintiffs have won a verdict since the cases were consolidated in the U.S. District Court of Indianapolis 7.5 years ago. 

Cook Medical lost an IVC filter verdict in 2018. In that trial, a jury awarded a Houston, TX firefighter $1.2 million. That trial was not part of the federal multidistrict litigation in Indianapolis. 

Cook appealed the Texas decision and later settled with the firefighter. In the Texas case, the jury did not find that the model of Cook Medical’s IVC filter was negligently designed. The jury did, however, take issue with the medical device’s lack of warning. 

In an email to IBJ, a legal representative for Cook Medical wrote, “To date, no sustained jury verdict supports plaintiffs’ counsel’s claim of a defect in the design [of] Cook’s IVC filters; a product used to treat patients with life-threatening medical conditions for more than two decades.” 

The attorney reinforced Cook’s stance, stating, “The company’s strategy has been, and will continue to be, to defend this important, life-saving technology.”

At issue in the litigation are retrievable IVC filters, which the FDA says should be removed after the threat of a blood clot developing has passed. According to research studies, many retrievable IVC filters are never removed. 

Cook Medical is one of the three largest IVC filter makers, along with Boston Scientific and C.R. Bard. On average, approximately 200,000 blood clot filters are implanted per year. The medical device is inserted into the inferior vena cava, a major vein that returns blood to the heart from the lower body. IVC filters are supposed to prevent pulmonary embolisms, which are blood clots that travel to the lungs. 

Individuals who have filed IVC filter lawsuits claim that small parts of the medical device broke off and migrated to other parts of the body, including organs and tissue. Migrating IVC filter parts can potentially cause severe harm and pain.